I have talked about this before — but there is a certain amount of pressure on you if you bake a lot of bread for your family. The family relies on you, and kids vote with the feet (or mouths in this case), and if your bread isn’t good, they won’t eat it; and your wife tries to be nice at eat the mistakes, but at some point you wear out your welcome. Plus, while virtually all homemade bread is better than virtually all store bread, you can create a situation where everyone’s taste are turned against store bread — so that your mistakes stand out even more.
Yesterday I made an old mistake and I should just know better by now. I added steel cut oats to my final dough, after an overnight pre-ferment, without soaking the oats. I know that you can get away with this when you use old fashioned oats, but the steel cut oats just suck all of the water out of your final dough, and no matter how long you give your final loaf to rise before you put it in the old — it’s still going to be as dense as a brick. And that’s exactly what happened.
I know that you are supposed to soak steel cut oats (and other whole grains) for 24 hours before you add them to you bread. But the oats were just sitting there calling out to me. I added the final flour, some molasses, honey and olive oil, oat bran, flax seeds and sunflower seeds, and then the steel cut oats. I might have been able to improve my bread by adding water and continuing to knead the final dough, but momentum got the best of me.
Live and learn. But I need to focus on the learn part.
Here is my very dense whole wheat, multi-seed loaf. We’re eating it, but I have used up some of my well-earned baking capital with the family.